Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

These were fun.  It was a fairly complex recipe, but I got to make them over a decadent three days, so things were relatively stress-free.

The recipe called for biscotti, so I went ahead and made the ones out of Baking with Julia, and they came out beautifully.  I’ve made biscotti before, but always have been disappointed that they weren’t dry enough to make for really satisfying dunking.  With these, I did not have that problem.  They contain very little fat (just egg yolks) so they dried out perfectly in the oven, and go marvelously with tea.

On the second day, I made the dough, so I’d be able to chill it in advance.  The procedure reminded me a lot of pie crust what with the need to keep ingredients cold and not handle them too much, but I liked the innovation of turning the crumbs into dough by smearing them with the heel of one’s hand.  It worked, and was fun.

The filling I made on the last day, and it was a bit more complicated.  I’m going to have to have someone actually demonstrate for me some day what “forming a ribbon” looks like, because I’m fairly certain I’m doing it wrong, but my egg yolks and sugar came out fine, as did the finished tarts.  My husband and I ate one that very night so we’d be able to tell the difference in texture the next day (and, as my mother would say, to make sure they weren’t poisoned). They were definitely lighter and more mousse-like right out of the oven, but I found I liked the flavors better the next day.

I brought them to a baby shower (for my own baby) the next day.  People were quite intimidated by them until we cut them into quarters, at which point they were promptly devoured.

There are four hosts this week, so if you’d like the recipe, you can go here, here, here or here.  Enjoy!

Tuesdays with Dorie: White Loaves

I’m very excited to make my first post as part of Tuesdays with Dorie:  Baking with Julia.  Twice a month, I’ll be baking something out of the lovely cookbook Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  I had only heard about the project a couple of weeks ago on Talk of the Nation (one of the benefits of being at home full-time is that I get to listen to NPR all day, and I catch things like this), but apparently a group of bakers had already spent years working their way through another of Ms. Greenspan’s cookbooks, baking together and posting about it together, always on Tuesdays.  For this round, there are already 300 bakers signed up!

Our first project for Baking with Julia was the blessedly simple “White Loaves.”  The ingredients list was short, and since I’d made bread before (once!) I was familiar with the techniques.  The only surprise came when my lovely red Kitchenaid absolutely Could. Not. Handle. the kneading process.  I watched, horrified, as the metal bowl actually wrenched itself loose from the rest of the mixer after only a few turns of the dough hook.  I have no idea why this happened.  I’ve used the mixer for kneading dough before, and the book didn’t say anything about this particular dough having violent tendencies, but no matter.  I kneaded it by hand, and the exercise was good for me.

The bread itself came out fluffy and intoxicating.  I devoured half the first loaf with jam that very afternoon.  The rest, as promised by the book, toasted up beautifully for breakfast, and on Sunday my husband made some absolutely bonkers french toast out of the last few slices.

I had great fun with this first project, and I cannot wait to get started on the next one. Each week, there’s a “host” and if you’d like to find the recipe for this marvelous bread, you can visit this week’s hosts’ blogs here and here.

Stay tuned for more baking loveliness in two weeks!

Sawing Logs

Today, for the third morning in a row, I woke up to an empty bed.  My husband was one room over, quietly sleeping in the guest room.  We had not had an argument; the empty space next to me, cheerfully lit by morning sunlight, did not signify any sort of marital discord.  He simply can’t sleep with me anymore, because I snore.

This has been going on for about six months, on and off.  Pregnancy messes with one’s nasal passages, and along with the thicker hair and sciatica, snoring has been one of the gifts bestowed upon me by the small being kicking around in my abdomen.  At first we combatted the problem with earplugs for my beloved, and when that stopped being sufficient, he would gently shake me until I turned over, like one of those terrifying Japanese teddy bears.  This worked until Thanksgiving, when I caught a cold, exacerbating the snoring situation, and he woke me up about twenty times in a single night. I completely flipped out because I was sick and exhausted and felt as if I were being tortured.  “But it made you stop snoring!” he protested.  “Because I was awake!” I roared.

From there, we progressed to double earplugs for him (regular ones, plus wax ones on top to seal them in), to the neti pot for me, and from there to BreatheRight strips.  Each solution worked for a few days, or even a few weeks, but inevitably I’d wake up to the dreaded empty bed. I briefly tried making fun of my husband, referring to him as a “delicate petunia,” but that only made me feel a little bit better.  The fact is, he is entitled to a good night’s sleep, and so am I, so if he needs to move to a different room to get it, what’s the big deal?

Well, the big deal is, we’re married, and I want him next to me at night. While I know there are plenty of couples who don’t share a bed, for reasons of comfort or to make room for co-sleeping children, I . . . don’t want to be one of those couples.  I want the intimacy inherent in sharing my most vulnerable and peaceful hours with the man I love.  I want the security of having him right there next to me. Even if no one sees, I don’t want the appearance of distance between us. I want him.  I just do.

I also feel as if I’m being punished for something I cannot control. When I wake up and he’s not there, I feel rejected. I’m beginning to get resentful.  My sister, after all, snores like a herd of buffalo and her husband doesn’t seem to mind. Plus, the BreatheRight strips give me a smooshed-looking little troll nose, and I hate that. I want to glow with the beauty and femininity of pregnancy, and this just makes me want to go and hide under a bridge.

I’m more or less at my wit’s end now.  I asked my doctor about it, and she said ti’s probably due to weight gain, which obviously won’t go away until the baby is born, suggested the things we were already doing, and then hesitantly mentioned Benadryl, but said it might actually make me more sleepy, which could in fact make the snoring worse.

Our next strategy is white noise.  We may need it to help the baby sleep, anyway, so it will be good to get used to it.  I’m also going to pop over to Walgreen’s today and try to track down the “extra-strength” BreatheRight strips.

I think the reason this has been so upsetting to me is the hopelessness of it. In this one small aspect of our marriage, my husband and I cannot give each other what we need.  I cannot give him the silence he needs, and he cannot give me the intimacy I crave. We are both trying, very hard, but it isn’t working. I know that marriage is hard work, and I know that we’re not going to get divorced over a little temporary snoring problem, but stumbling upon a little taste of irreconcilable differences has me shaken.

In the end, it’s two more months, and then hopefully I will get my old nasal passages back, and then we’ll have a baby who won’t let either of us sleep, so the point will be moot, anyway. Mountains and molehills; there are differences. For the time being, I’m just going to have to learn to compromise, keep a stiff upper lip, and try not to lose too much sleep over it.